Police warn about drinking at proms

A prom gone wrong.  Students from Lester B. Pearson high school in Burlington got a sobering reminder about the consequences of underage drinking this past weekend. Their student run end-of-year dance was shut down by police three hours early after some intoxicated attendees got out of control.

Derek Ford: “I pictured it being like something out of a TV show, something like that. I didn’t really picture it being two hours long.”

Grade 12 students from Lester B. Pearson high school in Burlington were looking forward to a night of celebration.

Graeme Gilmour: “People started freaking out, getting a little drunk, smoking inside, punching stuff.”

Instead, their prom turned into a nightmare, with police shutting the event down before they even hit the dance floor.

Graeme said: “We just all got pushed outside and then cops were saying we couldn’t go back inside and if we did we were going to get arrested.”

Some students admitted to drinking before the event, and say several pre-parties included parents. The prom was held at Liuna Gardens and was entirely student run. The venue requires at least two police officers on site, and a rental contract must be signed by someone over the age of 21.

But even with police presence, intoxicated teens got out of control.

Dan Stickle: “Some people were in the washrooms throwing up, but that’s kind of expected at that.”

‘Kind of expected’. A common phrase when the subject of underage drinking is broached. Two Toronto schools even require students to take a breathalyzer test before entering prom.

Without the threat of a breathalyzer, many Pearson students still chose not to drink before their prom this weekend. And wish more of their friends did the same.

Derek said: “A few people ruined it for everybody.”

When we asked them about the dance, the Halton District School Board issued a statement saying the prom was not a school sanctioned event and that Lester B. Pearson staff had no role in it.

Most schools have yet to host their year end proms, both staff and student run. If you’re a parent with a teen attending a prom this spring, and you want to talk to them about underage drinking, you can find some resources on this link.



  1. The actions of the students have nothing to do with whether the prom was school run or not. I understand the importance of separating Lester B. Pearson from the activities, but it isn’t necessary to exaggerate so clearly that it was “student-run” multiple times.

    Assumption high school had to cancel all of their school-run dances in 2008 for similar activities, whereas Lester B. Pearson’s student-run prom has gone off without a hitch for several years…

  2. The pictures used in the article are taken from students Facebook accounts that weren’t even involved in the problems, but the story makes it sound like the pictures are of the kids that caused the issues. The faces may be burred, but they can still be recognized (one of them is my niece), this is totally irresponsible journalism!

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